President Trump and First Lady Salute Military at Independence Day Picnic 

Trump July Fourth President Donald Trump, accompanied by first lady Melania Trump, greets military families during an afternoon picnic on the South Lawn of the White House, Wednesday, July 4, 2018, in Washington.
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

President Donald Trump honored each branch of the United States military at a White House Fourth of July Independence Day picnic, specifically praising one member representing each branch – even making mention of the proposed “Space Force.”

The Marine band played as Sarah Sheffield sang the Star Spangled Banner to open the event.

“Happy fourth of July to everybody. Great day,” Trump said to the military crowd.

“Melania and I are honored to celebrate American independence with the heroes who protect American independence. The men, the women of the United States military, these are our finest. Thank you very much,” said Trump.

VP Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence were in attendance, as were several members of the President’s cabinet.

Trump continued:

242 years ago on July 4, 1776 America’s founders adopted the Declaration of Independence and changed the course of human history, but our freedom exists only because there are brave Americans willing to give their lives to defend it and defend our great country. 

American liberty has been earned through the blood, sweat, and sacrifice of American patriots. The immortal story of the American warrior is written in the fields of Gettysburg, the sands of Iwo Jima, the mountains of Afghanistan, and the snow of Valley Forge. It is the story of courage, honor, duty, loyalty, and love.

Today we are honored to recognize a few of the incredible men and women who serve our country and defend our great American flag.

Trump announced the appointed representative of the Army for the event, Retired Captain Jason Pak. His West Point graduate father was also present, along with his mother. Trump spoke of meeting their inspiring family before taking the podium, “Their story is an incredible one.”

President Trump then introduced Navy representative Petty Officer First Class Steve Swift, a master explosive ordinance disposal technician. “That’s a tough job and a dangerous job,” said Trump. Swift’s excellent performance recently earned him “sailor of the quarter” for his unit. His wife, daughters, and parents were also in attendance.

The representative for the Coast Guard was next, Lieutenant Ryan McCue, a helicopter pilot. “One of Ryan’s most important jobs is to intercept aircraft that fly where they are not supposed to be flying in and around the capital area,” said Trump. He is temporarily assigned away from his wife and son.

Trump also pointed out that the Coast Guard saved 16,000 lives in last season’s hurricanes. 

Captain Brook Peel represented the Air Force. A Weather Officer, Peel “helped lead the Air National Guard’s response to Hurricane Maria,” said Trump. “He did an incredible job.” He was named 2017’s Weather Company Grade Officer of the Year. Peel’s sister was present with him for the event.

As he was praising the Air Force, Trump said, “and by the way, I might add, we very well may soon have the Space Force. You’ve been hearing about that.” The crowd applauded. “Everyone is very excited about that.”

There to represent the Marine Corps was Staff Sergeant Jonathan Race. A Senior Analyst for the Cyber Incident Response team, Race works to protect America from cyber attacks. “He’s done such a great job that they not only asked him to develop a new curriculum on cyberwarfare, they also asked him to teach the first class of the newly established Cyberspace Marines,” said Trump. Race’s wife and son were there with him at the event.

President Trump stopped after each representative and thanked them for their service and incredible work for America.

Trump closed his remarks:

To every service member here today and stationed around the world — they’re all watching — and to your incredible families — these are truly unbelievable people — thank you for keeping America safe, strong, proud, mighty, and free. 

God bless you. God bless our military.  And God bless America.  Happy 4th of July.  Thank you everybody.  Thank you.  Thank you.

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump shook hands with people after the speech before waving to the crowd and heading back into the White House. Their waves were met with cheers from the crowd.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana 


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